Norris: McLaren 'getting there' thanks to outstanding progress


Lando Norris finished runner-up to Max Verstappen in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix and while the Briton was well adrift from the Dutchman at the checkered flag, he reckons that McLaren is inching closer to its Red Bull rival.

Norris' second-place finish – his fourth of the season – was complimented by another excellent display by teammate Oscar Piastri who secured at Suzuka his maiden podium in F1.

The pair enjoyed a relatively straightforward race that included two pitstops and a bit of sparring among themselves. But especially noteworthy was the strong pace enjoyed by team papaya's MCL60 in Japan.

"Another amazing day for us," said Norris. "P2 and P3, so we couldn't have asked for any more.

"The team did an amazing job. My start was very good. I almost had Max, but Max is Max as well. I didn't have a lot of chance in Turn 2, but I tried.

"The pace was extremely strong today, compared to everyone. And I mean, we're not close to Max, but we're not miles away either. So it was a very good day.

"I'm very happy also for Oscar, his first podium in Formula 1. So congrats to him."

Ahead of Sunday's event, many anticipated that Verstappen would win by a country mile in Suzuka. While his 19-second margin was certainly comfortable, it wasn't the country mile that most – including McLaren – expected.

Norris highlighted once again the remarkable step forward achieved by the Woking-based outfit since the start of its upgrade cycle in Austria in late June.

"We're pushing, we're getting there," said Norris.

"The progress we've made is pretty outstanding. Like I said, I'm very proud of the team, and the steps forward we're making every weekend.

"I'm sure there's gonna be some tough times to come. But we're getting there step by step. And our first double podium together with Oscar. So yeah, a good moment for us."

Piastri's first visit to the podium – not to mention his runner-up spot in qualifying in Suzuka – reflected once again the Aussie's strong momentum which he continues to build race after race.

"It feels pretty special. Definitely, I will remember for a very, very long time, so I can't thank the team enough for giving me this opportunity," said Piastri.

"There are not many people in the world that get this opportunity in their whole life. And I've managed to have it in my first season. So thank you very much to the team.

"It wasn't my best race ever. But it was enough to get a trophy at the end. So yeah, super happy."

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